Photo of Angela Berry and Maeve Robinson, Omnicom Group.
Deserving of this year’s Woman of the Year Award is Maeve Robinson, Director of Treasury Operations of Omnicom Group Inc., who has been nominated by John Voorhis, Director of Treasury Operations in Greenwich, Connecticut, US.
Director of Treasury Operations
Omnicom Group Inc. is a leading global marketing and corporate communications company. Omnicom’s branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising, strategic media planning and buying, digital and interactive marketing, direct and promotional marketing, public relations, and other specialty communications services to over 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries.
During more than 19 years of service, Maeve has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to the success of her corporation, her department and her staff. Through her leadership, she has impacted her colleagues’ and staff’s ability to increase the efficiency of Omnicom Treasury in support of the company, thereby consistently enriching Omnicom, its shareholders and its treasury team during her tenure.
“Her ‘hands-on’ style of management, willingness to take on the most challenging of undertakings, empowering nature and the skills demonstrated by her, including her work ethic, application of financial knowledge, steadfast determination to give her best, her expectation that she will receive the best from others and her unbiased approach towards people, has garnered her the respect of all the people with whom she works,” says Voorhis.
Maeve, who is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA), holds a number of other titles within Omnicom, including Treasurer of Omnicom Capital Inc. (OCI) and Chief Financial Officer of Omnicom Finance Canada, Omnicom’s US and Canadian treasury centres, as well as having other global responsibilities.
Omnicom is a leading global advertising, marketing and corporate communications company serving over 5,000 clients in more than 100 countries. When Maeve joined Omnicom in 1994, annual revenues were under $1.8 billion; 19 years later, Omnicom’s 2012 revenue exceeded $14.2 billion and its pass-through cost last year exceeded $60 billion. In addition to dealing with the dynamics of extremely rapid growth, she has also managed treasury under a rather complicated decentralised agency structure, where Omnicom’s 1,500 agencies are serviced by one of six treasury centres located in Greenwich (Connecticut), London and Dublin. Omnicom’s agencies maintain more than 3,000 bank accounts, which are managed within a number of pooling or zero balancing structures. Cash ultimately flows to respective agencies’ bank accounts, held and managed by one of the treasury centres.
Maeve is specifically responsible for all treasury operations across North America and provides direction for treasury processes and systems across Omnicom’s global footprint. She also plays a lead role in managing Omnicom’s global working capital, credit and credit insurance programmes, where her efforts have reduced bad debt as a percentage of accounts receivable (AR) by two-thirds between 2008 and 2012. Maeve has been responsible for managing and facilitating the evolution of Omnicom’s premier treasury centre model, which is utilised by Omnicom’s treasury centres worldwide and provides all required operational functionality to the company’s agencies, including credit, funding of disbursements, cash concentration, secure communications, daily online statements of account with full transaction detail and control of third-party bank accounts, including a daily global view of all third-party bank balances. Furthermore, she oversees the short-term financing of Omnicom including the management of a $1.5 billion commercial paper (CP) programme.
Her ‘hands-on’ style of management, willingness to take on the most challenging of undertakings, empowering nature and the skills demonstrated by her, including her work ethic, application of financial knowledge, steadfast determination to give her best, her expectation that she will receive the best from others and her unbiased approach towards people, has garnered her the respect of all the people with whom she works.
John Voorhis, Director of Treasury Operations
“As a senior member of our financial leadership team, Maeve has consistently proven to be the example to be followed by others in the organisation. Her hard work, dedication and most importantly the results she has delivered, both individually and as a team leader, have generated significant value to our shareholders and propelled our global treasury operations to the top of the class.” (Philip J. Angelastro, Senior Vice President of Finance and Controller, Omnicom Group Inc.)
Always a proponent of innovation, Maeve’s recent achievements include:
- Facilitating the institution of a new cash management process where OCI has replaced 250 depository bank accounts owned by individual agencies in the US with just two depository bank accounts owned by OCI. Through unique identifiers, agencies’ remote deposits and electronic receipts are captured and channelled to respective agencies’ in-house bank (IHB) accounts each day. This streamlined process has resulted in several million dollars in annual savings for Omnicom.
- Standardising the treasury work station usage in all treasury centres, thereby improving efficiency and further attaining Omnicom’s objectives of maintaining global, standard and straight through solutions across its treasury centres.
- Playing a pivotal role in the re-engineering and integration of Omnicom’s working capital management, credit risk management and credit insurance programmes. This has resulted in timelier risk identification, enhanced problem resolution and reduced working capital by millions of dollars.
Currently, Maeve is engaged in the facilitation of two projects including:
- Developing a new accounts payable (AP) process in the US, which will migrate Omnicom’s 250 agencies from paper-based payments to ACH payments. Ultimately, this new process will allow for the elimination of cheques, as well as the closure of another 250 bank accounts used solely for disbursements.
- Upgrading Omnicom’s credit risk management process by moving the review of Omnicom’s global clients from its agencies to corporate. This will eliminate duplicate efforts by agencies who service common sets of clients.
Maeve is a founding principal of ‘Omnicom Cares’, the community service initiative of Omnicom. Omnicom Cares organises community projects in support of children worldwide. She has taken the lead in planning and directing the utilisation of corporate and private donations, and the efforts of Omnicom agency and community volunteers in revitalising six facilities across Omnicom’s global footprint, including schools, orphanages and community centres. She has led thousands of volunteers since the first project in June 2007, in making a real and lasting effect in the lives of children and their communities.
The following testimonials reflect the esteem with which Maeve is held amongst her colleagues and peers:
“Maeve has always demonstrated a consistent ability to stay focused on project goals and thereby delivers the best possible outcome.” Tracy Held, Director of Information Technology, Omnicom Capital Inc.
“We are what we repeatedly do,” said Aristotle. Maeve has consistently demonstrated a strong work ethic, a high level of knowledge, solid judgment, a steadfast determination to give her best and has maintained an unbiased approach towards people, which has earned her the respect of all those with whom she works. She is an inspiration and role model to both women and men alike. She has never fallen into a fairness paradox by favouring one individual over another based on gender, race, creed or sexual orientation, but has instead advanced those persons or ideas which she believes will perform best for Omnicom. Maeve recognises people for their performance which I find empowering.” Karen Turner, Manager, Omnicom Capital.
“Maeve is assertive but fair. She is enthusiastic about her job and has a real vision for what is necessary to succeed in treasury and our industry.” Kelli Piro, Manager, Omnicom Capital.
“Maeve is someone who always and continuously challenges herself and others to grow and improve and who is greatly liked and respected by everyone in the organisation.” Stephen Medhurst, Director of Treasury — Europe and Asia, Omnicom Finance plc.
As Voorhis concludes: “Through her leadership, a blend of public accounting, treasury and credit skills, sensible judgment and consideration of others, Maeve has continuously advanced the growth of Omnicom by facilitating the evolution of its treasury through effective direction and the implementation of sound processes that have significantly enriched Omnicom. She is what she repeatedly does and, because of this, she is an outstanding treasury executive.
“For the above reasons, Maeve is most deserving of the 2013 Adam Smith Woman of the Year Award.”
Our judges agreed.